Green Weddings Blog Series Part 3 -
Wedding Paper (Paperie)
Green weddings are becoming the chic choice – hooray!
As we move into the 2010 spring wedding season, GGN has had had an increase of customers desperately searching for green bridal gifts, echo chic gifts for bridal parties, eco friendly wedding favors, paperless invitations, and more. To help our clients further, my parents invited me to guest-write a series of blogs on the topic of ideas for Green Weddings!
GREEN WEDDINGS PART THREE: Wedding Paper Paperie
Consider all these places that paper comes into use within your wedding plans:
· engagement & wedding announcements
· save the date cards
· shower & wedding invitations & thank you notes
· ceremony programs
· place cards
· menu cards
It could a be a very ugly (as in "un-green") situation…that can be turned into an incredible opportunity to set the basic tone for your environmentally friendly wedding!
To most paper companies "Green" is defined as the amount of recycled content in their papers. But truthfully, recycled paper is not the only, or necessarily the greenest option. There are many choices available today including: 100% recycled; partially recycled; or completely tree free papers from wedding invitation suppliers.
If you are interested in making your own invitations, the choices are unlimited!
I thought it might be easier to start a productive and meaningful conversation with your printer/paper supplier if we covered some of the green paper “buzzwords" here.
TREE FREE PAPER
Yes, you read that correctly – TREE FREE PAPER!
Why not start by looking for papers that don't use trees in the first place?
Tree-Free is the ultimate eco-friendly material!
But … if it’s not made from trees… than what’s it made from?
Cotton, bamboo, lokta, cork, plant fibers, grass, flowers, and vegetables are just a few possibilities!
In fact, hundreds of different kinds of papers are made from highly renewable or sustainably grown and managed plants rather than forests of trees.
Cotton is a fantastic option since the cotton used to manufacture our papers is not from the puffy white flower that we all recognize, but rather the linters, or byproduct, from the textile industry. Textiles are made using the longest, highest-quality fibers - the rest is standardly discarded. This wasted cotton is salvaged and used to manufacture cotton papers. Nothing could be more eco-friendly than reusing a product that is considered waste - otherwise this would all end up in the trash!
GGN’s favorite tree free wedding paperie option is a handmade Lokta Bush paper, also known as rice paper, which is grown in Nepalese forests at altitudes of 10,000 feet or more. The plant has a unique feature which allows it to regenerate to maturity again within 4 to 5 years after being cut. The harvesting process actually helps the plants by extending their growing "cycle". If the lokta bush was allowed to continue to grow past harvesting maturity it would dry up and begin to decay, preventing any new plant growth. Thus, the forest is not destroyed nor is any harm done to the fragile ecology. Also, the hand production of Lokta paper provides a source of income to paper crafters (usually women) and village communities in Nepal.
There is also a kind of paper made from elephant dung.
Yep, that’s right, you read that correctly too!
I know… not the MOST ROMANTIC idea… but, believe it or not, it’s one that is increasing in popularity.
It’s:100% bacteria free; 100% odor free; and100% recycled! It's made in places like Sri Lanka and Thailand where elephants are often viewed as agricultural pests. Making paper from their dung enables locals to see elephants as assets rather than liabilities. In fact, many elephant reserves in these countries are using the income from elephant dung paper to support their elephant conservation efforts.
Shall we move on?
PAPER PRODUCED BY ALTERNATIVE ENERGY MILLS
After the WHAT’S IT MADE FROM question…
You gotta ask: HOW WAS IT MADE?
Whether it's water, wind or solar, when a manufacturer invests in alternate sources of energy to power their business, the impact affects us all. That's why I’m highlighting the fact that paper produced by mills using various alternative methods to produce electricity minimizes their (and your!!!) carbon footprint. Some mills even use agro-waste materials to generate energy.
When it comes down to being environmentally friendly, handmade papers lead the pack. There are incredibly chic and gorgeous options for paper, which is a stunning & unique way to announce your special day. Most of these handmade options use the sun to dry each piece of paper, eschewing the electricity-intensive paper machines. Compared to a conventional paper mill, the handmade paper manufacturing process obviously uses much less energy per ton of the paper produced, thus significantly contributing much less towards pollution and global warming. In many cases, as we've pointed out, handmade paper making literally uses the purest form of "solar" energy.
Our Green ideal paper product would be handmade, tree/chemical-free and with every aspect of the actual paper-making process being done by hand.
Click on the Titles below to link to GGN’s TREE FREE & HANDMADE paper selections
These were just a few of the latest "buzzwords" and useful concepts for you to use to help you get closer to the (Green) paper of your dreams…
if you have more ideas or helpful suggestions we invite you to add your comments below!